Monday, July 20, 2015

Favorite Vacay: Holiday Inn Resort Pensacola

For someone who is barely learning to swim in her 30's, I love vacationing in places where I can easily drown. Living in the south, Florida remains the easiest choice for this crazy activity. We found this gem of a spot because we are loyal Holiday Inn fans. Wherever we are in the world, we almost always stay in their franchise. It's within our budget and we like earning points. We've racked up so many points that we are able to stay in hotels like this for a fraction of the regular going price. This is the Holiday Inn Resort in Pensacola. We just love the Pensacola's white sand and turquoise water.

During the 4th of July weekend madness, one can book this for free. IHG's breakdown is so easy to calculate and does not change whether you are staying during the peak weekends or midweek. We are card members by choice after we've used up all of our points last year. We always opt to use the least amount of points and just pay the difference. While our stay, rooms were going for around $300.00, we paid $70 per night.

I have no clue what is in the area because this is one of those spots we like to vacation to just relax without any type of itinerary. The only things off our checklist are food, sunscreen, beach, drinks, pool, food, nap, and sleep. Throw in the jacuzzi somewhere in there to make it sound more exciting. This is one of those vacation places you take after a vacation somewhere fancy like Walt Disney World, where you walk endlessly.

As far as this awesome hotel? Well, it has a lazy river that we went around on more than 100 times. It boasts 3 jacuzzis. They also provide activities to kids such as the appearances of mermaids and pirates. This specific hotel also feeds every child free throughout the entire day. All of this without a resort fee. My frugal self couldn't contain myself. Using your points does not provide free breakfast, but if your kids eat free, then you really only pay for all the margarita's you choose to partake in poolside. Don't mind if I do. Cheers.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Favorite Stroller: Chicco Liteway Plus

So for my comeback post, I wanted to write about my favorite Chicco baby gear: Liteway Plus. Yes, I know. I no longer have this stroller. However, it remains my favorite stroller to this day. This is the only stroller I recommend to my friends who aren't looking for a jogging stroller. If you like to travel like my family does, this is hands down the best one to buy.

Just a quick overview of this gem in the order of my priorities:

Transitions from Carseat Caddy to Umbrella type stroller
Seat folds flat
No snack tray (1 of the 2 reasons why I switched. The other reason is it isn't a jogging stroller)
Roomy undercarriage storage
Adjustable sun shade

The Liteway Plus came out towards the end of 2012 when I was getting ready to transition out of the Chicco Carseat Caddy.



In my opinion, it revolutionized this part of the industry. It transitions from carseat caddy, to stroller like some of the more expensive options. The cherry on top? It folds just like an umbrella stroller - one of its kind. I won't rewrite the description Chicco has on its site, but let me tell you why this stroller was a lifesaver for a shortie like myself.

The transition. Whenever I went somewhere with my kids, I switched back and forth between wearing my baby and my 5-year old being pushed. If the baby was sleeping on the way to the store, I let my older kid walk and just snap in the car seat. If my baby was staying home, I didn't have to switch strollers to take the other one.

Seat folds flat. This is not my second priority because it is a good tool for nap time. The real reason is for diaper changing time - which was often every time we were out and about. I've witnessed many moms change their kids on those things and I was grossed out. I won't tell you the different scenarios because if you are reading my blog, I am sure you know the different mishaps one goes through when changing diapers. If it happens within the four walls of your home in a changing table, yes, it also happens in public restrooms. I took the car seat out and opened up the stroller seat whenever he needed a diaper change. I wanted to avoid changing my baby in the public bathroom as much as possible. A flat seat allowed me to change him throughout his diaper phase (still to this day, but with a different stroller).

No snack tray. When he started snacking on his own, this became a problem for me. I used to just attach those spill-proof snack bowls with the daisy links.

5-point harness for seat belt. When my baby was younger, this was an absolute must. The scare of the stroller ever tipping over, I wanted a stroller that will hold him up.

Adjustable sunshade was awesome! Although the canopy isn't too big, it adjusts!

Folds like an umbrella stroller! Easier to tow and does not take too much space. I used to be able to fold this one with one hand and a foot. I wouldn't be able to tell you how since I forgot, but I know it can be done.

Sturdy frame, but so light to carry.

The height of the handle bars is perfect. Not to low and not too high. The design is like the one in an umbrella stroller where they are just bars on each side. If they were connected, I bet the top would be high. Since you can push it holding the bars sideways, it's a perfect height for petite moms.

360 Degree Turn with a push of a finger. This glides so easily.

Roomy undercarriage. 

I was bummed when I had to replace this stroller with a jogging one. Every parent I know that eventually bought this stroller (short and tall) cannot stop telling others to do the same. The best part is that many big box retailers sell this stroller. You don't have order it by phone and find out it isn't for you. You can fit it in your car and glide around the store before buying it.I just know you will fall in love with it as much as I have. Go and drive to your nearest Target or Babies R Us and try it out.